Were you aware that kangaroos love to be scratched under the chin?
I wasn’t either… until I went to Tasmania.
I mentioned Tasmania as one of my top 5 destinations worth a second look last week, and now I’ll tell you the story.
It was one of my last weeks in Australia. We’d been hanging out in Melbourne, itching to get out of town for a last hurrah. Tasmania’s right there, why not hop across the water for a weekend? So we did.
We left Melbourne late Friday evening, arriving in Hobart too late to do much more than hit a McDonald’s close to our hotel and call it a night. We’d explore in the morning.
Hobart is a charming little city, its wharf reminiscent of Scandinavia in both feel and design. We wandered a bit, browsed the open-air market for a spell and grabbed a bite to eat before setting out on the road.
First stop: the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
This is where I learned kangaroos practically melt in your hands if you scratch them under their chin. Of course, having a bit of food in your hand on offer helps lure them over in the first place. They were curious, and comfortable with us visitors. No doubt they wondered what all the fuss was about.
The wildlife sanctuary help protects these animals, and is the home of herds of kangaroos as well as koalas, wombats and the famous Tasmania devil, among other species. It’s worth a trip if you have the time to stop.
After indulging in our fill of cuteness, we headed northeast for a bit of adventuring. We fueled up for lunch at a tiny spot on Cole’s Bay and headed to Freycinet National Park, and the famous Wine Glass Bay.
Wine Glass Bay gets its name from the shape of the shoreline – sort of like the base of a wine glass. Leave it to the wino Aussies to name it after something alcohol-related, but it fits. And I love them all the more for their imbibing ways.
The hike up to the viewing deck was pretty mild. Translating too… my British friend who has no affinity for anything outdoorsy handled it just fine. He snapped photos while myself and our other friend played on the rocks. We made quite the little trio – a triangle of immaturity that ensures the greatest of times. Good laughs were had by all.
Once we completed our little rendezvous with Mother Nature, we headed to our accommodations. The boys even let me drive – a true test of faith seeing as they were both used to driving on the left side of the road, driver on the right side of car. Completely a*%backwards if you ask me, but I managed. We stayed in a tiny little town, and ate at a tiny little French restaurant. I wish I could tell you where we where and what we ate, but I have no idea.
You see, Tasmania is a remote little place. I didn’t have cell phone reception pretty much the entire weekend. The only time I had a signal was in Hobart, at the very beginning, and Launceston, at the very end. So I had no navigating or research responsibilities whatsoever. It worked out well – kind of like burning a hole through a shirt and never being asked to iron again (my gift to you, ladies).
The next day we set out early, determined to make it to the famous Bay of Fires and then drive along the coast to Launceston before our flight out that evening. Well… we made it to the Bay of Fires, we think. Hard to tell since it was so rainy and foggy we couldn’t even see the ocean from the shore.
So instead, we headed inland.
Did you know there are rainforest jungles in Tasmania? Who would’ve guessed?! This place is full of surprises. Since we struck out at the beach, we decided to continue our walking habits and hike to St. Columba Falls. It was pretty close to the road we were on (no idea which one again – my apologies) and we had plenty of time. Plus it was amazing to see how vastly different all the landscapes are on this tiny island.
We drove along, stopping at the Pyengana Dairy Company for a spot of tea paired with some of the best Tasmania cheese. Apparently the name Pyengana comes from an Aboriginal word meaning the meeting of two rivers, which perfectly suits the location. We enjoyed afternoon tea, complete with fresh scones, and bought way more cheese than we could ever eat on the short drive to Launceston. We’d be taking some back to Melbourne with us.
Now when in Launceston, one simply must visit the Cataract Gorge and First Basin. This is where the Taswegians of Launceston go for outdoor play. Hiking trails, swimming pool, chairlift, restaurant and cafes… this place has it all. And of course there’s the suspension bridge, because everyone loves walking over a suspension bridge.
We hiked around a bit, snapped a few photos, and headed back towards town. We had just enough time to grab a bite for dinner at a Mexican place in town before catching our short flight back to Melbourne.
That next week, as we sat in my friends’ office enjoying our Tasmania cheese and Yarra Valley wine, we reminisced about our 48-hour Tasmanian adventure. The weather may not have held, and we may have missed out on a few of the key sites… but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Plus, there’s always next time.